Nikhil Swamy, Benjamin Livshits, Arjun Guha, and Matthew Fredrikson
19 November 2010
Popup blocking, form filling, and many other features of modern web browsers were first introduced as third-party extensions. New extensions continue to enrich browsers in unanticipated ways. However, powerful extensions require capabilities, such as cross-domain network access and local storage, which, if used improperly, pose a security risk. Several browsers try to limit extension capabilities, but an empirical survey we conducted shows that many extensions are over-privileged under existing mechanisms.
We evaluate our work by implementing and verifying 17 extensions with a diverse set of features and security policies. We deploy our extensions in Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and a new experimental HTML5 platform called C3. In so doing, we demonstrate the versatility and effectiveness of our approach.